OpheliasHome

Week 4: When Hale Froze Over

Hello Again from the 3rd-Year students at Rural Studio!

This year, instead of a Spring Break, Auburn University included “Wellness Days” over the course of the semester. These Wellness Days give students a mental break in the middle of the week. Coincidentally, this weeks’ Wellness Day number brought snow! Although it was only a dusting, the students were able to bear the frigid temperatures to enjoy the rarity of deep south snow. Enjoy these pictures from around Newbern!

Ophelia’s Home

After an enjoyed Wellness Day, the 3rd-Year students kicked it into high gear on site. The interiors team stud framed and prepped most of the interior walls.

Picture showing the interior progress of Ophelia's home
The Interior Walls Framed and in Place

The only thing left to frame is the soffit, which will divide the public and private spaces within the home. The soffit is basically an extended door header. It will span the length of the house, creating enough separation in the nook from the living space, while also separating the utility room from the entry.

History Class

Due to rainy weather, the 3rd-Year students worked in-house on a design problem for history class. These problems encourage critical thinking and designing in a way that matches the era of the structures the class regularly tours. Recently, the students were tasked with illustrating the process of constructing a homestead.

Firstly, they imagined picking a site. This took into consideration water sources, sun, prevailing winds, available building materials, and site conditions that will help keep the home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Next, plans, sections, and perspectives were composed in a storyboard format to tell the story of an imagined family and their homestead. We were limited to the tools and construction techniques that were used through 1810 to 1819.

Shop Class

The 3rd-Years are in the beginning stages of designing all of the millwork for Ophelia’s home. They researched and studied the designs from previous semesters. This provided a great starting point, but they have added accessibility to the cabinet design. The 3rd-Years have been challenged to think critically about the design so far and also to place household objects in the cabinets to truly understand the sizes and placement.

Third-Year Sign-off

Thanks again for reading Ophelia’s Home Project team blog! We hope you enjoy the update. Keep it real and stay healthy.

-Wendy, Sadie, Logan, Drew Haley, Austin, James, Juyeon, Ashley, and Kirby

Brace Yourselves… or Brace Those Trusses!

Shop and History

Professor Dick Hudgens took the 3rd-year students on a trip to Tuscaloosa this week to visit Jemison Mansion. Having helped work on the house’s restoration, Dick knew all of the house’s hidden secrets like reveals of the home’s original wood. Every aspect of the house has been expanded to a larger-than-life scale to make the mansion feel more expensive and grand. Windows and doors were kept within the same scale as each other, making it’s large size seem normal without a scale figure.

Ophelia’s Home Site

The roofing team replaced the temporary truss supports with permanent ones which finished all preparations for the purlins. Purlins rest horizontally across the trusses, running northeast to southwest. A purlin was placed every two feet, stating at the tail end of the truss and ending 4″ from the truss’s peak by the roof and enclosures teams. The 4″ gap will allow for ventilation in the attic once roof metal has been drilled to the purlins. The framing team finished the front porch of the house. A small hole was left open to allow for storage under the porch, or allow for retrieval of fallen objects. A wooden “cap” was made to rest in and fill the hole. We are so excited for the front porch, seeing as Ophelia and her family like to spend a lot of time outside. The site cats were also very excited about the porch which has become there new favorite spot to sunbathe.

Raising the Roof at Ophelia’s

Shop and History

Between portraits of Russian monarchs, a stroll through a Greek themed yard, and getting to feed some chickens, Oak Hill is definitely the most unique house tour the students have had the honor of partaking in. Before COVID, the owner had thrown a Russian monarch themed party and chose to keep some decorations. One room is filled with colorful furniture, beautiful glass vases, and extravagant curtains. In another room portraits of Russian monarchs hang by string like they would have been in the 1800s.

Outside, classical Greek-styled statues stand side by side with modern takes on the statues. Some pieces are left to be “dissolved” back into nature. After the tour, the students drew an elevation of the main house and of the cabin, which we believe turned out pretty great.

Shop class has been filled with exciting new ideas and crazy curves. Steam bending, while frustrating at times, has opened a whole new world of woodworking to the students. It will be exciting to see how our curvy wood works will turn out!

Ophelia’s Home Site

To finish truss prep-work, large bolts were put through the beam to fully brace it, and the columns were given another layer of bracing. All the prep work payed off because the trusses went up fairly easily. Steve Long came out to site with the Bobcat, the studio’s skid steer loader, to provide some much appreciated help. Steve long used the Bobcat to first lift a truss, guided by 3rd-year Ethan, above the walls. Then a team of 3rd years with Professors Emily McGlohn and Chelsea Elcott directed the trusses into place and adjusted them until plumb. Temporary bracing was put on the trusses as everyone held them in place.

Once all the trusses were on the walls, and they were put in the correct spots, permanent bracing started going up. Next week, the rest of the permanent bracing will be placed by the roof and enclosure teams while the framing team starts work on the front porch! We are so excited to have the roof raised and to be finally building Ophelia’s front porch!

Festive Frights and Bewildering Beams

Shop and History

This week 3rd-year students started a new project in woodshop class which taught them the technique of steam bending. The project brief is quite open ended; make something “useful” using steam bending. The open nature of instructions will help students really use their creativity. After the great results from the cutting boards, it will be exciting to see what students come up with next!

In history this week, Dr. Hudgens had the students complete their final Design Problem for the semester. Third years have now completed 3 of these Design Problems and look forward to their final review on their last Monday at Rural Studio, November 23rd.

Ophelia’s Home

At Ophelia’s Home this week students continued to prepare for the incoming roof trusses. They put up a beam on the front porch of Ophelia’s home which the trusses connect to in order to create a covered outdoor space. Trusses will span from the back, western wall to the front, eastern wall and over the front porch, resting on the beam. The roofing team placed the brackets, called hurricane ties, on the top plates of each wall for the trusses to secure into. The Enclosures Team and the Framing Team worked together to level the columns on the porch. They also attached the beam on which the trusses will rest. A meeting with Professor Emily McGlohn’s father – a structural engineer – helped solidify the roof team’s trusse placement and bracing. Now that Ophelia’s Home is prepped for the trusses, it’s time to raise the roof!

You’ve Gotta Raise the Walls Before You Can Raise the Roof

Field trip with Dr. Dick Hudgens

History, Shop, and Horseshoe Courtyard

Third years continued to work diligently in the shop this week as different cutting boards slowly started to come together. They were also able to visit a mid-1800’s house in Demopolis with Dr. Hudgens. At Horseshoe farms this week, 3rd-years were able to put up the frames for the other half of the courtyard after the 5th-years worked to install the footings.

Working in the Rural Studio Wood Shop on cutting boards

Ophelia’s Home

This week students worked to put the existing walls up at Ophelia’s Home. Rural Studio also had six helical anchors installed to further stabilize the foundation and 3rd-years were able to witness the process. While wall installation went slowly in order to assure everything remained plumb, students and Mrs. Ophelia were excited to see the home return prior condition. Everyone is looking forward to further progress on the home in the weeks to come!